Man charged in connection with robbery, death of Indianapolis pastor’s wife sentenced to 29 years after plea deal

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Jalen Watson

INDIANAPOLIS – A man who pleaded guilty in connection with the robbery and murder of an Indianapolis pastor’s wife has been sentenced to 29 years in prison.

Jalen Watson pleaded guilty to a count of robbery causing serious injury and two counts of burglary in the death of Amanda Blackburn.

The sentencing order calls for 29 years on the robbery charge and 10 years for each of the burglary counts. He’ll serve those sentences concurrently.

As a result of the plea deal, additional charges were dismissed, including murder, auto theft and other burglary and theft counts.

Former Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry said Watson had agreed to help prosecutors in the Blackburn murder case.

Blackburn was shot during a home invasion on Nov. 10, 2015. She died from her wounds two days later. The coroner’s office said she died from a gunshot to the head and ruled her death a homicide.

She and her husband moved from South Carolina to Indianapolis in 2012 to start Resonate Church on the north side. She was pregnant at the time of her death.

Blackburn’s murder touched off a frantic search for suspects. Police announced the arrests of two men—Watson and Larry Taylor—in late November 2015. Diano Gordon was arrested and charged in December 2015.

The sentencing order noted that Watson would cooperate with the state in its prosecution of Taylor.

Taylor has a hearing scheduled for June. Gordon has a change of plea hearing in June as well.

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